New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, under fire for listing one of the Boston Marathon bombers a gun violence victim, is facing its first desertions from mayors who claim he has gone too far to target critics and legal weapons.
Two mayors, one from Nashua, N.H., and another from Rockford, Ill., northwest of Obama's Chicago hometown, have quit the group as it embarks on a campaign to shame lawmakers who voted down the recent Senate bill to expand background checks.
Nashua, New Hampshire Mayor Donnalee Lozeau quietly left in May, claiming that Bloomberg's group wants to ban legal weapons, far beyond its initial plan and name. She also said that the group's $2 million assault on New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte for voting against the Senate bill was unfair, according to New Hampshire Union Leader.
Rockford, Illinois Mayor Larry Morrissey quit Mayors Against Illegal Guns because it is pushing for a ban on assault weapons and large magazines, both legal. "As the original mission swayed, that's when I decided it was no longer in line with my beliefs," Morrissey told a town hall meeting, according to Rockford Register Star.
While far from a trend in a group of some 950 mayors, news of the resignations came after Bloomberg's group was whacked when it listed Boston Marathon terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev a victim during a rally against Ayotte in New Hampshire last week.
The group apologized, but Secrets has learned that MAIG delivered a document to Ayotte's Manchester, N.H., office that also listed Tsarnaev one of those "murdered with guns." An Ayotte spokeswoman said that the document sent to the Republican senator's office, "undermines the out of state group's claim that reading Tsarnaev's name was a simple mistake."
In its statement to Secrets Mark Glaze, executive director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns said, "We thank Mayors Morrissey and Lozeau for their time with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and we wish them all the best."
He added that "since the Tucson mass shooting, our first and highest priority has been closing loopholes in the gun background check system that allow criminals, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill to obtain guns. Mayors have occasionally chosen to leave the coalition, but our growth has always far outpaced the number of mayors who have departed."
Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.